What would it take to invest in and develop communities in ways that support the wellbeing of long-standing residents?
And in ways that promote social, racial, economic, and environmental justice?
These are the questions that the Healthy Neighborhoods Study (HNS) aims to answer.
HNS uses Participatory Action Research (PAR) where residents and community advocates work as equals with researchers and planners. With our research in greater Boston, we develop resources and test strategies to support community-led, equitable development, promoting the well-being of residents and contributing to racial justice.
To date, our research shows that gentrification, climate injustices, and other development practices change neighborhoods in ways that are unjust, lead to displacement, and cause negative health consequences.
Where we work
Boston, like many U.S. metro regions, is growing rapidly and to a degree that hasn’t been seen before. In the face of housing shortages, growing racial and economic inequality, and rising climate threats, the number of people living in the region grows year after year.
Money and resources are suddenly pouring into communities that have been redlined, overlooked, and underinvested in for decades, to build up housing, transit, and other urban development projects for the growing population. Yet longtime residents are routinely left out of decision-making processes and their wellbeing is not often prioritized.
At the same time, the impactful work they have done for decades to correct past injustices, invest in their neighborhoods, and live healthy, thriving lives is often overlooked. HNS recognizes and supports the agency of community residents and advocates in shaping their own neighborhoods.